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How to Start a Profitable Carpet Cleaning Business

Carpet Cleaning BusinessCarpet Cleaning Business
min read
August 21, 2023

If you dream of owning a business, the first question you need to ask yourself is what type of small business you want to start. And if you’re looking for an industry with plenty of opportunity and flexibility, one successful business model you may want to consider? Carpet cleaning.


There is a ton of opportunity out there for carpet cleaning business owners. According to data from IBISWorld, the carpet cleaning industry is expected to drive $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021.

So, the question is, how, exactly, do you start a successful carpet cleaning company? What is involved with building a carpet cleaning business from the ground up? And once your business is up and running, how can you spread the word and start finding customers?

Why You Should Consider Starting a Carpet Cleaning Business

First things first—before we jump into how to start a carpet cleaning business, let’s cover why you might want to consider opening a business in the carpet cleaning industry to begin with.

There are a variety of reasons why carpet cleaning can be a great opportunity for business owners, including:

Clearly, starting a business that offers carpet cleaning services can be a huge opportunity…But what are the steps you need to take to get your professional carpet cleaning business up and running, find new customers, and start booking jobs?

Determine What Type of Carpet Cleaning Company You’re Going to Start

The first step in building a successful carpet cleaning empire? Determining what kind of business you want to build—and, more specifically, what type of services your carpet cleaning company is going to offer customers.

As mentioned, because so many buildings feature carpeting, there are a ton of opportunities out there—and if you want your new business to thrive, you need to narrow in on which of those opportunities you’re going to take advantage of.

When determining which business model is right for you, there are two main decisions you need to make:

Commercial Carpet Cleaning vs. Residential Carpet Cleaning Services

Washing 800 feet of carpeting in a home is a completely different ballgame than washing 30,000 square feet of carpet in a commercial building; building a business around large commercial jobs requires a completely different approach than working with homeowners on individual jobs. So, before you get too far into building your carpet cleaning business, you’ll want to decide which avenue you want to take—commercial or residential.

There’s no right or wrong decisions; both business models have advantages and disadvantages. For example, commercial buildings are generally larger than individual homes, which means you’ll make more per job—but they’re also time consuming, so you won’t be able to take on as many clients. Residential jobs, on the other hand, don’t take as much time, which means you’ll be able to take on a higher volume of clients—but because the space is smaller, you won’t make as much per job as you would tackling commercial projects. Commercial buildings have a lot of traffic, so their carpets are likely to need more intense cleaning than you would find in an individual home—but because they’re operating a business out of the space (and, in many cases, serving the public), they’re more likely to commit to a regular carpet cleaning schedule. Residential carpets will likely be easier to clean—but because they don’t see as much traffic, clients may only need their carpets cleaned a few times per year.

Franchising vs. Starting Your Own Operation

The other big decision you need to make when starting your carpet cleaning company is if you want to build it from the ground up—or if you want to become a franchisee for an existing carpet cleaning company.

Again, both models have their advantages and disadvantages. When you build a business from the ground up, you’re in total control of everything from work volume to work hours to pricing—but getting your name out there, finding clients, and getting to a sustainable level of work can be a challenge. On the flip side, when you open a franchise business, you get the benefit of operating under a brand that already has recognition in the market, which can make it easier to find clients—but because you’re operating under that business’ name, you also have to operate according to their rules, which provides less flexibility as a business owner.

Ultimately, you have to weigh the pros and cons and decide which business model (commercial vs. residential and franchising vs. independently owned) is best for you—but make sure to make that decision early on, so you can build your business plan and strategy around it.

Create a Business Plan

Once you’ve decided what type of carpet cleaning operation you want to start, it’s time to create your business plan.

Think of your business plan as a roadmap; it gives you clear direction on how to get from where you are to where you want to go—and lays out the steps you need to take to get your business up and running.

Your business plan should include:


Drafting a business plan takes time and effort—but it’s time and effort well spent. A detailed business plan will give you clear direction on how to start, manage, and grow your carpet cleaning operation—and will set you up for success in the long term.

Take Care of the Logistics of Launching a New Business

When you start any new business—including in the carpet cleaning industry—there are certain logistical steps you’ll need to take to legitimize your business, including:

Stock up on Carpet Cleaning Equipment and Cleaning Supplies

If you’re going to clean carpets, you need to get the right cleaning supplies and equipment—and you need to do it before you start booking jobs.

The supplies and equipment you’ll need will depend on your cleaning method and the services you plan to offer. For example, if you’re going to use the hot water extraction method, you’ll need an extractor. If you’re going to use the dry carpet cleaning method, you’ll need to get the right cleaning products to pretreat the carpet fibers and break down the dirt before you vacuum.

Bottom line? Figure out what supplies, equipment, and cleaning products you’ll need for the carpet cleaning services you plan to offer your customers—and make sure to secure those supplies, equipment, and products before you start taking on carpet cleaner jobs.

Get the Word out about Your Carpet Cleaning Business

You’ve done all the work on the backend to get your business up, running, and ready for customers—and now, it’s time to get the word out and start booking carpet cleaning gigs.

When it comes to your marketing plan, there are a variety of ways you can market your carpet cleaning business, including:

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Carpet Cleaning Company?

If you’re thinking about starting a carpet cleaning company, you’re probably concerned about cost. How much capital do you need to get your business up and running?

While the cost to start your business will vary based on a number of factors, there are a few startup costs you’ll definitely want to consider, including:

Clearly, the costs of starting a carpet cleaning business can vary widely—but spending anywhere between $5000 and $80,000 is a reasonable estimate.

Bottom Line: Is a Carpet Cleaning Business Profitable?

Now that you know the steps to take to build a carpet cleaning business from the ground up, you’re armed with the information you need to get your own carpet cleaning operation up and running.

But you probably have one key question, and that’s “is starting a carpet cleaning business profitable?”

And the answer is—it certainly can be. If you can keep startup costs low (like opening your own business instead of a franchise to avoid franchising fees and starting with smaller jobs so you don’t have to invest in too much equipment) find the right clients, and develop a pricing strategy that works for you and your customers, you can absolutely turn a profit with a carpet cleaning business—and turn your business into a lucrative, long-term career.

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